'Whale Wars' Pete Bethune saga highlighted July 16
By April MacIntyre Jul 6, 2010, 17:28 GMT
Japan may now arrest and charge Captain Pete Bethune, in the latest of a number of confrontations between the whalers and the Sea Shepherd activists who have harassed them for weeks in international waters media reports stated on 16 February 2010. EPA/TONY MCDONOUGH
Animal Planet's 'Whale Wars" series July 16th episode will let viewers finally get to see what really happened with Pete Bethune and the controversial trial happening in Japan.
Captain Paul Watson and his crew of 40 left with the Steve Irwin and Ady Gil from Fremantle, Australia and from Hobart, Tazmania, respectively last December. It was well-publicized that the Sea Shepherd added more vessel firepower to keep up with the larger, faster and more numerous whaling vessels.
What they kept secret, however, was that Bob Barker, one of the best-known personalities in the world of animal activism, donated funds to purchase a third vessel to add to the Sea Shepherd’s fleet.
Ironically, the ship is a former Norwegian whaling vessel but has since been renamed and refitted. With a crew of 26 and led by Captain Chuck Swift and first officer and Whale Wars veteran Peter Hammarstedt, the Bob Barker was docked off the coast of Africa on the island nation of the Republic of Mauritius, until it was ready to join its Sea Shepherd colleagues and engage in a surprise “engagement” to stop whaling.
From Animal Planet:
The July 16 episode, 306: Sliced in Two, features the Sea Shepherd at the bottom of the world, where a collision has just devastated one of the Shepherds’ vessels.
Captain Chuck Swift and the Bob Barker crew stand helpless on their deck, watching in horror as the Shonan Maru 2 barrels through the Sea Shepherd’s prized speedboat, the Ady Gil.
As the Ady Gil’s frantic mayday radio call comes through, Captain Swift and his crew spring into action to rescue their fellow Sea Shepherds from the 30-degree Antarctic waters.
Hundreds of miles away, the Steve Irwin heads toward the Bob Barker, unaware of the disaster. Captain Swift calls Captain Watson to break the news of the unprecedented collision. Paul is furious and immediately calls the press to report the incident.
The media firestorm mounts as news outlets around the world cover the international incident. With the Ady Gil’s crew now safe on board the Bob Barker, the two Captains, Pete and Chuck, try desperately to tow the vessel to the nearest piece of land. However, the Ady Gil is filling with water and is un-towable. Pete must bid a final farewell to the ship on which he set a world record and is set on revenge.
On Wednesday, January 6, 2010, the Shonan Maru 2 collided with the Ady Gil in the Southern Ocean, destroying the vessel and leaving Captain Pete Bethune and his crew no choice but to abandon their sinking boat.
Several weeks later, Bethune silently slipped under the cover of darkness through the frigid Antarctic waters on a jet ski and boarded the Japanese whaling vessel. He attempted to make a citizen’s arrest, claiming the whaling vessel ran over the Ady Gil, nearly killing him and his crew, and to deliver a bill for $3 million for the damages he claims the Japanese captain is responsible for.
Instead of receiving the reparations he sought, he was taken into custody and brought to Tokyo where it has been reported that he has been held on charges of trespass, obstructing the passage of a vessel, carrying a knife and damaging property. Bethune currently remains in Japan awaiting his trial and could spend up to 15 years in jail.
Capt. Paul Watson is joined by crew members Chris Aultman, aviation director; Laurens de Groot, Ady Gil crew; Benjamin Potts, deckhand; Amber Paarman, chief cook; Dan Bebawi, bosun; Luke Van Horn, communications officer; and Arne Feuerhahn, leading deckhand. Joining the crew this season include Lockheart MacLean, first officer; Chad Halstead, deckhand; Bonny Schumaker, second mate; Andrea Gordon, deckhand; Fiona McCuaig, deckhand; and Dave Thompson, deckhand.
Said Captain Watson, “Ships are expendable, endangered and protected whales are not. We lost a ship, and we have one crewmember taken prisoner, and no injuries were caused nor sustained. I think we did bloody well this year, and 528 whales were saved. We won’t stop until whaling ends.”
Animal Planet statement
“The issues surrounding whaling in the Southern Ocean are important and complex, and Whale Wars returns once again to capture them in all their intensity,” says Marjorie Kaplan, president and general manager of Animal Planet. “The majesty of these beautiful creatures and the lengths to which the Sea Shepherds will go in order to prevent whaling has made Whale Wars entertaining yet vital television. The series has become a trademark for the new Animal Planet, and audiences now expect to kick off summer television viewing with its return.”
The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences bestowed the series with a Television Academy Honor which identifies it as “television with a conscience.” The series was also nominated for a Primetime Emmy® for Outstanding Cinematography in a Non Fiction Series.
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